Read a couple of blogs recently around the idea of, “not being that kind of Christian,” as if to say that’s it, I’m no longer an evangelical, I reject fundamentalism, no more potlucks, I’m done, I totally renounce any affiliation with those kind of people.
It kind of made me a laugh because I so get that. Also, about 8 out of the ten reasons for why we’re breaking up, I completely agree with.
I think it’s really good to shrink your world down to size, to find your tribe, your flavor, if you will. In a smaller context, here’s my people, this is where I fit. That’s awesome, I myself sometimes say my husband is the bestest, my grandkids are the cutest, because that’s my tribe. It’s vastly superior to all the others! Naturally.
However, sometimes our tribalism can take over and begin to rule our world. It can skew our perceptions. It clouds our judgment. It actually leads to judgment, and then to condemnation.
Do you ever get angry? I get angry sometimes. Generally, I like everybody. Everybody serves a purpose, everybody’s got something good about them, but then there’s a handful of people who really mess with my head. Like, that’s such a breathtakingly horrific representation of Jesus Christ, I just want to put you on a giant catapult and fling you off the planet.
I’m not opposed to giant catapults and totally evicting people from my world. I think discernment is really important. I’ll go so far as to say there are some people representing Jesus Christ and I just can’t see it. I’m really skeptical about whether or not you people know Him at all.
That kind of stuff really messes with my head. In my opinion, there is no halfway saved or a little bit in Christ. That’s like being sorta pregnant. Kind of married. Half dead. There is no, “I claim His name and yet there is absolutely no evidence of Him in my life anywhere or in how I treat other people.”
For the insecure among us, I speak of some big stuff, not the fact that you may have flipped someone off in traffic or that people just aren’t too keen on some doctrine or something. I mean like 9 out of ten sensible people would look at that person and go, if that’s Christianity, I want nothing to do with it.
I too have had that urge to say, you know what, I’m not that kind of Christian. In fact, sometimes I’m reluctant to call myself “Christian” at all. I’d like to call myself something completely different just to make sure there is a strong line drawn in the sand. How about disciple, apostle, follower of the way, in a relationship? Anything, anything at all that will make it obvious, I am not, “that kind of Christian.”
Yes, absolutely, that’s how I feel sometimes. The Lord however has said, No. No, I want you to claim them. I want you to call them your own, every last one. I didn’t get that at first and it’s been a rocky journey, but I’m starting to see the value in that, the benefit. When I wash my hands of a group of people, we’re done and I can walk away. It’s not my problem.
But what do I do when someone is my own? Stick to them like glue. Annoy the heck out of them like a mother hen, always trying to call them to their higher selves. Pick up your socks. Do your laundry. Brush your teeth. Stop being stoopid. Isn’t the name of Jesus Christ important enough? Isn’t it worth fighting for? I think it is. I think we’re called to reach across the political aisle, across the denominational divide, through the culture, and right into the living room of the nearest tax collector. Pharisee. Leper. White supremist.
Or, even John Pavlovitz. I’m standing in your kitchen, John. You need more of Him and less of you, John. Just saying. Now of course John with his hyper tolerant advocacy of all things, doesn’t believe I’m, “his kind of Christian.” His brand of tolerance is about as meaningful as taking the designer label off a shirt and sewing it onto your own. Also, he totally ignores me like so many who I call my own do.
Doesn’t matter. I still show up, I still offer my hand.
It’s a harsh truth to confront, but often the people who need us the most are already sitting in a church, they already know the Lord, or they might even be calling themselves a pastor, like the three I tend to blog about often, 2 red pills and a Pavlovitz. It’s interesting, the right politics sure don’t make you a Christian. Neither does your world view. Nor your denomination. Nor what tribe you align yourself with. Being a pastor doesn’t make you a Christian, either.
Jesus Christ makes you a Christian.
When Jesus Christ makes you a Christian it’s no longer about your tribe or your opinions, or where your loyalties lay, or even how the world perceives you. It’s simply about being about the Father’s business. Loving people is not always so easy, in fact, it can be downright painful. We have to die to ourselves, we have to let go of offense, we have to become peace makers with our own anger, our fear, our unforgiveness, whatever it is that gets in the way and slows us down.
Don’t wash your hands of people. I know it’s tempting, but Jesus Christ did not wash His hands of us. Also, listen up! I’m not “one of those Christians,” I’m probably far worse as in, Pick up your socks. Do your laundry. Brush your teeth. Stop being stoopid.